1. Common Sense Media fails to live up to its name. Adam Rex (you may remember I interviewed Adam here in 2007) has put up a post entitled "Common Sense" about the new Common Sense Media ratings at Barnes & Noble's website. The mere mention of an alcoholic beverage in Smekday scored him a 3 (out of 5) rating on that count - even though the reference is to an adult having an occasional drink, and nobody drinks on-page. The CSM people found NO good points about his book, even though it deals with overcoming prejudice and preconceived notions, friendship and more. Other outrages are enumerated, including that Judy Blume's Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaret, a marvelous book about puberty beloved by generations of readers, is deemed suitable only for POST-pubescent readers.
For another take on this issue, you can read "Are You There God? Margaret's Not OK for Tweens" over at Meg Cabot's blog, where she points out that CSM guidelines list Blume's book as suitable for ages 14 and up, whereas Cabot's own Being Nikki - featuring a 17-yo protagonist who certainly gets up to more shennanigans than Margaret - is rated okay for 12 & up.
2. Whitewashing of covers is not okay. Not that I think any of you think it is. But this post at The Book Smugglers does a great job of pointing out that a) it's nothing new and b) it won't stop unless people in the industry adopt Mad-Eye Moody's principle of CONSTANT VIGILANCE! (*Reference to HP is mine, not theirs.)
I should note that I don't understand the "people don't like covers with non-whites on them" argument. At all. I've bought and/or borrowed from the library plenty of books with non-whites on the covers, ranging from nonfiction (We Are the Ship, Dear Mr. Rosenwald & more) to poetry (Becoming Billie Holliday, A Wreath for Emmett Till & more) to children & YA fiction (Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters - a particular favorite when my girls were little, Project Mulberry, Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time, Mare's War, Sunita Sun, A Girl Named Disaster, Bound & more), to say nothing of adult titles. I like reading about people who are different than I am, and so do my kids.
3. Thoughts about online platform. I have one - you're reading it, in fact - but not every author is comfortable with it. And guess what? That may just be okay. Check out Mary Kole's article on "Online Platform Do’s and Don’ts".
4. Haiti still needs your help. Just because the news isn't all about Haiti anymore doesn't mean they don't need your help. You can still send money to the Red Cross, Medécins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Hope for Haiti and other groups. You can send gently used crutches and canes to Haiti through CrutchestoHaiti.com and other groups (there have been so very many amputations there that these are in high demand). And you can buy music. Not just the Hope for Haiti Now album available from iTunes (or We Are the World, remade, but also this new version of "Put A Spell On You", recorded by Nick Cave, Chrissy Hynde, Johnny Depp, and Mick Jones. Yes. You read that right - Johnny Depp.
5. I hate to say it, but Chile is going to need your help, too. And maybe Hawaii. If you're like me, you might be having some monetary struggles these days (vet bills and fender-bender have put a drain on our finances lately), but the folks who are responding to these tremendous natural disasters are struggling for their lives. Even $5 can make a difference. Or those crutches & canes. Or tents. You get the idea.
6. Feminism: dead or not? I was very much interested in the post What a Girl Wants #11: Feminist is not a dirty word, a discussion hosted by Colleen Mondor over at Chasing Ray. I don't believe we live in a "post-feminist" word, but I do believe that today's young women (especially the teens) don't realize how "new" many of their rights are (relatively speaking), how tenuous some of them remain, and what additional issues (such as pay parity) exist.